Most of us who remote work have been doing it for a while now. We’re very used to the daily routine of logging on from home, the shared working space, or the coffee shop. Our love affair with remote work seems like it will stay the course; in a recent survey by Good Hire found that 74% of Americans believe that companies not offering remote working arrangements will lose major talent in the workforce. On top of that, a lot of businesses are warming to the idea that the future of work is flexible.
To avoid getting caught out, there are some remote working best practices that businesses can implement now to ensure that remote working successfully continues throughout 2022.
1. Ensure that each employee has the right equipment set up
Sitting in an improper chair for too long can cause real damage to your physical health. Using a desk that is the wrong height, or a screen that is too close also have physical health effects. When the world jumped into remote working at the start of the pandemic, many workers were caught out by improper equipment at home.
Now, two years into remote working, it can be easy to assume that everybody has set up their home office, but it’s still important to check in. Providing a budget for new hires and long term employees to improve their office set up is essential to make sure that you are caring for your team. For employees who don’t have the space for a full desk set up, you should consider alternative working options such as providing a WeWork or co-working space subscription.
2. Communicate more than you’d think to
When you’re not face to face, a lot of nuance can get lost in conversation. As tech unicorn Bolt shared in their Remote Working Best Practices playbook, “there is no such thing as over communicating when working remotely!”
One way to make sure that your communication is effective is to follow up video meetings with written notes or action items. Sending a quick slack recapping what was discussed and what everybody agreed to can help make sure that everybody is aligned on outcomes.
Over communicating helps build a culture in your team too. Remote teammates may have never met each other in person, and it can be difficult to build a relationship when the only topic of conversation is work based. Building time in meetings, sending quick funny slack memes, or writing thoughtful emails is a great way to ensure that your team feels like a team.
3. Accept that remote work isn’t the same as office work
My home office window overlooks my street, and garbage collection happens every Thursday at 10.30am. Unfortunately, I also have a meeting every Thursday at 10.30am. In the office this wouldn’t be a problem and nobody would be distributed by the noise of the garbage truck – but since I’m at home, I have less control of my surroundings.
Accepting that life happens is crucial to ensuring the success of remote work in 2022. Especially if your colleagues share their homes with others, there might sometimes be background noises or interruptions. Or you might be listening to my garbage pick up every week. It’s important to be flexible about professional expectations and make sure your employees feel empowered to stand up to shut the window, move rooms, or answer a quick question from their kids. Obviously for client facing meetings this can be more difficult, but if it’s just a 1-1? Life happens. Deal with it.